Language learning as a model for the learning of Mathematics, Science and Technology

Year: 2001

Author: Madiba, Matete

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The relationship between language and learning has received attention in the learning of mathematics, science and technology. The focus has been on the role that language play in learning, or the relationship between language and thought with implications on learning. What has not received focused attention is how far the way language is learned, in particular, first language, can serve as a model for the learning of other logical systems. An underlying assumption is that there is a considerable amount of success when children acquire their first language. Paying a closer attention to the processes involved provides an interesting line of thinking in terms of how the learning of Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) can be enriched. This is provoked by the fact that research reveals that achievement in terms of learning in these fields is not where it should be. There is room for improvement. This study seeks to lay a basis for the investigation of a learning model for MST based on how children learn what comes to be considered as their first language. The paper takes a closer look at "activity-based learning" as an approach in the learning of MST and compares and contrasts this to how children learn a language. Constructs that are built, such as discovery versus generativity, provide insight into how the teaching of mathematics, science and technology can be improved.